By BRYAN URBACH
CAYUGA – Take a deep breath football fans, the Cayuga Wildcats are still undefeated.
After a late surge by the Carlisle Indians, the Cayuga Wildcats were able to put away the visiting team winning 28-7. The Wildcats had most of the action happen for them in the first half, as running back Keshawn Jackson started things off early. Jackson ran the ball 23 times for 200 yards in the game, with his lone touchdown coming in the first half.
As for the Wildcat defense, it was the thing that shined bright for Cayuga during the game. The defense came away with 3 turnovers (two fumble recoveries and an interception) for the game and set the tone in the first half for the Wildcats. Cayuga coach Russell Holden said his defense is what he thought stepped up for the game and helped the Wildcats come away with the victory.
“The defense was opportunistic,” Holden said. “When something was there, they took it. If there was an opportunity to make a big hit or strip the ball, they took it. They got a tipped ball interception there at the end of the game, and I was proud of them for that. They really played lights out, and I think it was our best defensive performance of the year. I’m just really proud of these guys.”
Two touchdowns by Cayuga quarterback John Vickery both from 1 yard out are what led the Wildcats to a 21-0 halftime lead.
At halftime, both teams went into the locker rooms and both schools’ bands came onto the field. The performances were both practicing for upcoming competitions in the area. Several fans won a raffle put on by the senior class, and a few people went home with cakes.
Nothing too crazy happened in the second half, as both teams traded going nowhere. Carlisle was the first team to score in the second half as it brought the score to 21-7 on a touchdown to the right-hand side of the field.
Cayuga pulled away in the fourth quarter after an interception and then rushed the ball down the field for another touchdown. The Wildcats came away with the 28-7 victory and Holden jokingly said the only thing Cayuga did “wrong” was let Carlisle score one touchdown.
“It was a great game,” Holden said. “They (the Wildcats) played a great game and came out with a lot of intensity.”
The Wildcats had a different type of offensive showing for the fans of Cayuga. A normally high scoring offense was not on show tonight as the Wildcats scored half of their season average. Holden said it was something the Wildcats were focused on, because they wanted to put more emphasis on the defense.
“Offensively, we wanted to grind it out and run the clock,” Holden said. “We weren’t looking to put up a lot of points; we were just looking to control the ball. Defensively, we just wanted to stop them. I think our defense was the star of the game. Carlisle never really got anything going on offense, and I credit our defense for that.”